A mutual friend (thank you, Janice!) introduced me to Nancy Veinot. We immediately recognized kindred spirits for hiking, activity, fun and adventure and our friendship has grown since that day in 2015.
Nancy’s vibrant spirit, energy, and curiosity for LIFE continues to inspire me; in sharing this story I hope you too will be encouraged to follow your dreams – at any age!
Nancy isn’t one to attract attention to herself, but in conversations during the hours we’ve spent hiking, camping, paddling, climbing a mountain, she’s been filling me in on some of her history; like she’s lived “forever” in a small community in rural Nova Scotia, has two fun-loving sisters (true – I’ve met them) and two brothers, and hard-working parents.
All interesting bits to know. But most fascinating to hear are her travel and adventure stories which she’s experienced since a day in January of 2012 – when Nancy slid a retirement notice under her employer’s office door.
Nancy had worked full time for thirty years at a manufacturing company in her community (and was grateful for this work and benefits) – but there were no options or opportunities to change that schedule to do “other exciting things”.
She didn’t need time to contemplate what she was going to do for the rest of her life. Her first adventure was already planned – based on a seed of an idea that started at a dental appointment. She heard about WWOOFing.
Willing Workers On Organic Farms – a worldwide community linking volunteers with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non-monetary exchange. People aged 18-80 can participate in this exchange of culture and volunteer labour for food and accommodation: for between 4-6 hrs/day or 30 hrs of work/week.
In Nancy’s mind, to be one of these Willing Workers was going to be her opportunity for an inexpensive way to travel to do the things she had been dreaming to do someday. New activities, meeting people, foreign cultures. Going WWOOFing “was on a page in the back of my mind” for 12 years!
She researched potential countries to go to, wrote and submitted bios of her experience, skills and objectives. And kept the plan close to her chest – with the exception of her closest family members and her husband “who really thought (or hoped) that I was just talking through my hat and that this was only a brainstorm” .
Three weeks after that day of submitting the retirement notice Nancy was on a plane to go WWOOFing in Australia. Why there?
The dream to travel Down Under began in Nancy’s elementary school days where teachers “fed my personal curiosity for travel and adventure with songs like Waltzing Matilda and KookaburraSits in an Old Gum Tree”. And knowing the exchange host supplies accommodation and food and a WWOOF-er pays for travel expenses to reach that location, Nancy chose a far-reaching destination where she’d probably not return to – and planned for a three-month stay, not pushing too hard on her husband’s well-wishes to go away and explore! Also mindful of aging parents who tried to be encouraging but couldn’t hide their emotions, Nancy chose a phone and internet-accessible continent for everyone’s peace of mind.
Nancy loved wwoofing: it didn’t disappoint her in its variety and adventure. Here’s her summary of a few experiences:
So I ask, while reading Nancy’s story have you been reminded of a dream that’s been sitting in the back of your mind – or nurturing a seed that’s still in the idea stage?
If you’re hesitating, what is holding you back?
Are you fearful you’re too old or too young, or what others will think, or that there are too many unknowns?
I asked Nancy”…what would you say to a woman – of any age – but particularly in the 55+ stage of life, about moving beyond the perimeter of what’s normal?”
“Know that others have gone before you and succeeded – you are no different. Confidence and common sense will guide you. Do it – don’t take your health for granted. Time is running out. For me, each adventure motivates me to do more while I am able.”
Thank you Nancy: for inspiring us to be curious, determined, patient and courageous in taking steps towards our dreams.
None of us know how long we’ll be able – follow your dreams, my friends!
I would be happy to hear about your dreams and if you’re ready to launch!
Love and gratitude,
P.S. Whatever stage of life you’re in – my desire is you will be rejuvenated with healthy food, physical movement, living with purpose and joy. If you feel stuck in moving towards any of these desires – or the dreams that call your name – let’s connect for a complimentary short chat to help make this happen for you. I’m available here or at email@example.com.
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